There are a number of roads that can lead to abnormal bleeding, and a condition called adenomyosis certainly makes this list. If your periods are heavy, prolonged, and painful, it’s very much worth exploring whether adenomyosis is to blame.
To get you started, Dr. Ulas Bozdogan and the team here at Advanced Endometriosis Center thought it would be a good idea to pull together a primer on adenomyosis in this month’s blog post.
Here’s a look at a few basics about adenomyosis to help you narrow down the culprits behind your irregular periods.
The basics of adenomyosis
Adenomyosis is a condition in which tissue that normally lines the inside of your uterus — called endometrial tissue — grows into the muscular walls of your uterus.
Under normal circumstances, the lining of your uterus thickens with each menstrual cycle and then sheds out during your periods. If the endometrial tissue grows into the muscles of your uterus, the walls can thicken with each period as well.
Furthermore, this displaced tissue can distort your uterus, and it can also interfere with the blood vessels in the organ.
The symptoms of adenomyosis
When it comes to symptoms, they’re not always evident. In fact, 1 in 3 women with adenomyosis don’t experience side effects. As for the rest, most women experience one or more of the following:
- Heavy periods
- Prolonged periods (more than seven days)
- Painful cramping
- Pain during intercourse
- Enlarged uterus (up to 2-3 times larger than normal)
Adenomyosis can also interfere with your fertility as well as your ability to carry a pregnancy.
The risk factors for adenomyosis
Any woman can develop adenomyosis, but there are certain risk factors that can increase a woman's chances of developing the condition, including:
- Having a Cesarean section
- Undergoing any uterine procedure, such as surgery for uterine fibroids
- Being in your 30s or 40s
- Undergoing breast cancer treatment and taking tamoxifen
Another risk factor is having been pregnant before. Sometimes, a pregnancy can cause barriers in the uterus to break down. As a result, the endometrial tissue can start to cross over into the muscles of your uterus.
Your next steps
If you’d like to get to the bottom of your symptoms, it’s important to see us. As experts in endometriosis, we’re uniquely qualified in the arena of endometrial tissues.
First, we review your symptoms, and then we perform a physical exam. Next, we turn to advanced imaging, such as ultrasound, to see if we can see signs of adenomyosis.
If we confirm you have adenomyosis, you have several treatment options, including:
- Hormonal medications
- Endometrial ablation
- Uterine artery embolization
Discussing treatments at this point, however, is a little premature. You first need to see us so we can pinpoint the cause. To learn more, book an appointment online or over the phone with Advanced Endometriosis Center today. We have offices in New York City and Hackensack, New Jersey.